Portraits of Grace (1): In the Beginning

Episode 362: When God chooses to disclose Himself & reveal His nature, He chooses grace as one of the primary, if not the primary, characteristic. Grace is a New Testament word, but it has Old Testament roots. In this episode, I explore those roots as we begin to stroll through the gallery of grace which is the Old Testament. We will also see from a very common story the gracious nature of God.

Today in Church History: Cyprian Beheaded (258)

Question of the Day: Do we go straight to heaven or wait for judgment when we die?

The Beatitude of the Forgiven Lawbreaker

Episode 330: What do you do when you’ve blown it with God? I mean, royally blown it? King David was one who know about blowing it royally with God, but he also knew the way back home. In this episode, we dive into Psalm 32 to discover what we can do when we have blown it with God.

Today in Church History: Alexander Newcomer becomes a Christian (1858)

Question of the Day: Why doesn’t God just forgive without the cross?

Mars Hill Church Issues

Episode 271: Have you heard about the mess happening in Seattle? Seattle-based Mars Hill Church is having some serious issues with their lead pastor Mark Driscoll. While we do not know all the details (a point I iterate several times), it is a sad situation playing out for all the world to watch. But how does it apply to your situation, right where you live? Tune in as I show how some of the things happening in Washington are probably eerily similar to what you are struggling with in your life.

Question of the Day: Does God Exist?

Strengthened by Grace

Episode 269: I have been into weight lifting since my sophomore year of high school. Since I have lifted for so long, I think I am pretty strong. I am not talking about freakishly strong like the men in the World’s Strongest Man competition who lift and carry Volkswagens, but I am strong enough to do 100 pull-ups. Of course, there is an easy way to prove this: we can just meet in the gym at the pull-up bar…

Strength is a good thing, especially in the realm of the spiritual. Note the words of Paul in 2 Timothy 2.1: “…be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus.” What a fantastic charge! Be strong! But the question invariably comes up: how is one to “be strong” when it comes to grace? What does it mean to “be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus?”

“Be strong” or “be empowered” is the same word from which we get our English word “dynamite.” Hence, Paul is pointing to the explosive power that comes from Christ. It can also read “keep on being empowered.” So we should understand that this is somewhat similar to the gym experience for the body. Just as an individual would go to the gym and lift weights to build up physical strength, so the Christian enters into the place where strength is, that is, of course, Jesus Christ. Also, I think it tells us this is not just one shot deal; just as a person goes to the gym on a regular basis, so the Christian will plug into and stay with the true power source, which is Christ, allowing Him to strengthen us with His grace.

And what is grace? Most define it as the unmerited favor of God. It is a gift from God, and a free gift at that. There is nothing we could do to earn it; we can only accept it as a gift. It is this grace which saves us (Eph 2.8). We must never take for granted the expensive gift our God has bestowed upon us and must realize that this is where we can find strength.

It must be noted that if there is such a thing as being strong in grace, there is also such a thing as being weak outside of grace. Paul severely contrasts those who deserted him (see 1.15) with Timothy. Those who deserted him were not strong in the grace of Christ, that is, they did not tap into the power source. For whatever reason, they decided to unplug and therefore became weak, detached from the true power found only in Christ Jesus.

Therefore, the charge is clear: stay focused on Christ and remain in his grace. Dig deeper into grace through personal study and prayer. Realize the love of God seen in the saving grace he gives us through Jesus. Beware that you never unplug from the power source. Allow that supreme sacrifice to strengthen you daily as you seek to do the will of God. It is only in Christ Jesus that we find the grace which empowers us to press on.

Question of the Day: What’s so amazing about grace?

Napkin Notes

Episode 226: Garth Callaghan has cancer and is given only an 8% chance to live. Everyday he packs a napkin with a note written on it in his daughters lunch and has ensured that she will have one for the rest of her academic career (through High School) even if he passes away. What can this simple act of love from a terminal father teach us? Tune in as I make some connections for us.

Napkin Notes Article

Question of the Day:  Is the word “hell” or the phrase “burn in hell” in the Bible?